TC on Robotics and Automation in Nuclear Facilities
The technologies of robotics and automation are more demanded than ever for nuclear power plants and the other nuclear facilities, after the accidents at TEPCO’s Fukushima 1st Nuclear Power Plant following the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th, 2011. The technical committee has its goal on development of technologies, retention of running systems and networking among worldwide experts in the related science and technology for the operation, inspection, maintenance, and incident response in nuclear facilities.
Our age experienced the third major accident at nuclear power plants after Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986. The accident of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant showed the technological difficulties of safe operation and recovery from accidents at nuclear facilities. Decommission of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is reported to take three or four decades. For the complete decommission of the facility and process the nuclear fuel, debris, and contaminant by minimizing the human exposure to the radioactive environments, the mid-to-long-term research and development are asked for to the academic community of robotics and automation technology.
It is a major question of the world today whether the technology of our age can make the nuclear power safe and affordable energy source for the human society. The readiness of robotics and automation technology would be an indispensable condition when the question is answered in a positive way. The research and development for decommission would also provide the nuclear readiness of robotics and automation technology.
The international framework and participation of global academic community are of great importance to retain and share the experiences and technologies among experts and to prepare for the never-wanted next accidents. The technology and the community of scientists and engineers of such activity will also contribute in cooperation with the other associated TCs to any other emergencies at possible hazardous incidents at facilities such as chemical plants and natural resource mining works.
TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
Scope within 3-6 years:
Establish the network of world experts. The network among the TCs in RAS and the connection with the other IEEE societies would be sought. The network would connect the related institutions and agencies of the world.
Develop the technology for decommission of nuclear facilities specifically from the case of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants.
Retain the technology and keep the running systems. It is the key as the preparation for the future accidents. This will be technically and socially discussed for building the consensus of the society.